Friday, October 20, 2017

Fate of the Elder Gods

We had 10 guys out at the club on Tuesday. Bruce and Scott played Crusader Rex while Taylor hosted a game of Space Hulk.

With Hallowe'en approaching, Terry dug out a Cthulhu-themed game called Fate of the Elder Gods. Unlike Cthulhu Pandemic, here you are trying to summon an elder god as well as prevent rival cults from doing so while the game mechanics play the role of the pesky investigators (man, I hate those guys...)..

The putative goal is to move the little wooden piece (below left) in your lair around the circle clock-wise. Along the way, bad things happen and I think the real game is to get as far as you can and then try to cause the game to end by screwing your neighbour.

The mechanics include card draw and hand management (mostly making sets), some resource management (cultists and spells), dice rolling, and area control on the big board. There was also some memory work involved (face-down spells, curse management) and planning. It was a fair bit to take in at first but, by the end of two hours, we had mostly gotten the hang of the turn sequence and how the different mechanics interact.

In the end, Wiley lost (although that seemed a touch random since I thought he'd played well) and the rest of us compared scores (with Richard winning). Interesting game. It went on 30 minutes too long but that may reflect the learning curve--I suspect it would be faster on second play. There was a fair bit of chaos and luck mid-game that requires a flexible strategy for winning.

Up next: The end of a long rebasing project, some WW1 gaming with Bruce and some Hallowe'en minis.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

More ghoulish minis

A few more things are rolling off the painting line. This building was a gift from Terry. He'd already block painted the exterior so all I had to do was assemble the two halves, wash, dull-coat, and put a roof on. A lovely little building for Gotham. Maybe needs a detail or two--a front step maybe? Or some advertising on the wall?

A rare trip to Michael's netted me some deeply discounted fencing from the Hallowe'en village section. Five sections (a gate and four walls) was $5. Each kit made 15" of wall so I bought four. This is about enough to create a graveyard.

I also painted, washed, and rebased from horrorclix zombies that Scott gave me. They turned out just fine for gaming purposes--probably be a gang in Pulp Alley.

This goes a long way towards prepping the Hallowe'en game I'll run next year! 

Up next: Terry is running a Cthulhu game at the club. I hope to make some progress on some more 28mm pulp figures as well as finishing some rebasing of some Star Wars figures.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Long Island flank march

I popped over to Bruce's to game Tuesday night and brought Commands and Colors Tricorne with me. I wanted to try the British flank march at Long Island scenario,

This scenario has an interesting deployment, with the British caught in the middle on a row of hills. Hessians to the front, Brits to the back. Oh my! Also, the American troops suck.

I think I did well holding off the Hessians at first and gaining some early banners. But this cost combat power. I also had some tough cards to manage.

Bruce eventually moved to cut off Washington's retreat line to the ferries. I like to think I played a decent insurgent-kind-of-game. The game went on long enough that we didn't have time to switch sides.

I had some narrow escapes using the retreat option to my advantage. The rallying mechanic and the reduced combat power of the dice (fewer dice and fewer infantry symbols) makes the game less deadly.

Eventually, though, Bruce got enough banners to win (he was relentless) and I had no chance to come back anyways (not enough troops). A good game, I though. I'm not sure I have ever gamed the flank march? There is also a scenario covering the pinning attack on Long Island designed to distract from the flank march.

Up next: Some more minis are done and we have club night on Tuesday. I'm not sure what else I need to attend to but I am turning my mind to a holiday themed game for December. The painting is done--I just need to read the rues and design a decent scenario.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Hallowe'en Minis

So I didn't quite get organized enough to run a Hallowe'en game at the club. Fortunately, Terry has promised some Cthulhu action next time. But I have started in anticipation of next year.

Awhile back Scott and I engaged in my-junk-for-your-junk trading. He got a bunch of GW hex tiles and I got a bunch of horrorclix. I rebased and touched up the paint on five to serve as plot points in PulpAlley.

I also picked up some Renedra tombstones to make a grave yard. I painted up one of the sprues.

This is likely enough headstones for skirmish gaming. Nice stuff for a quick paint, wash and base.

Up next: I'm off to try some more CCA Tricorne this week with Bruce. Then some horrorclix figures.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

878 Vikings at the club

We had eight guys out at the club this week. Chen and Brandon played a game of Dropfleet (sorry--no pics) while Taylor and Jonathan played from Dragon Rampant.

Scott, Terry, Bruce and I tried out 878 Vikings with Terry and Scott being the axe-weilding invaders and Bruce and I the brave defenders of the realm.

Bruce and I had a bit of trouble with the dice. For example, at one point I rolled three 1 in 27 rolls in a row. And we had some even worse single results. Tough to defend the realm when you guys evaporate every time they see someone in a horned helmet.

Things weren't too bad. The vikings invaded in the north and, slowly, we whittled them down. They also invaded in the south. We were less successful in pushing them back and started to lose reinforcement points.

About an hour in, we were in trouble but still had enough troops to mount and offensive out of the middle.

Then Terry played a really powerful card (a surprise to me as I hadn't read through the cards ahead of time) and evaporated our guys in the middle of the board. Very frustrating.

At that point we were screwed and the vikings sewed up the win a turn later. Overall, a very interesting game. I like the mechanics of these Academy Games but it plays very differently from the Birth of America series. There are fronts that develop. The sides are asymmetrical in many respects. I'd totally play this again with maybe one of the nine (!) expansions thrown in.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

878 Vikings

A few weeks back I got my kickstarted game of 878 Vikings: Invasion of England from Academy Games. This game builds on the same engine as their Wars of North America series. The basic mechanics are pretty similar: random activation sequence, card-driven commands, uncertain end point, area control, icon-driven combat dice, etc.

Visually, the game is different by having plastic troops (about 10mm?) rather than colours blocks to denote troops. While there are five colours, it is a four-player game (the yellow are Fyrd who defend English towns when attacked by vikings).
After a quick skim of the rules, there seem to be two key mechanic differences. It is an invasion so the viking reinforcements arrive based upon invasion cards. This seems to give the vikings some flexibility in placement at the expense of uncertainty of numbers. It also makes it less desirable for the English player to create big troop concentrations.

The second change is that there are leaders who act before the normal activation phase. They have a movement allowance and much more flexibility in what they do than the normal activation. In theory, this allows for more dynamic in-turn campaigns than in other Academy games.

I  think I will bring this out to the club in later October (unless there is a real demand for a Hallowe'en themed game). I might like to have a quick solo game before I try to umpire. I'm currently working on some terrain (gravestones from Renedra) that I picked up at Red Claw. They also had a nice set of barrels in stock that I will look at this week when we meet.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

EWG: Tricorne

Tuesday night was club night. We had two games running and ten guys, including newcomer Deryk, old-timer Guy (plus son Alex) and sorta newcomer Taylor. We could have used another game but such is how it goes!

After a quick re-read of the rules after work, I brought out Commands& Colors Tricorne for a first go. We played Blemis Heights (the intro scenario) twice as we got a feel for the rules and the differences. The board was bigger: no conclusions about the effect of the extra depth but we did have retreats go all the way to the back of the board. And it was harder to bring reserves to bear.

Game 1 saw the British attempt to push on both flanks. This was not successful (reflecting the lack of combat power that the British had). The Hessian grenadiers were pretty successful on the left flank (especially after being reinforced).

But the Americans moved their line up and basically broke the British into pieces and attritted them through rally failures. This was a good manipulation of the rally mechanics by the Americans and the rally mechanic was a high point of the first few games. The Americans also aggressively used their combat cards.

After a 7-4 American win, we reset and switched. This time the Americans refused the left flank and aggressively attacked on the right and then the centre (learning from the last game).

This, combined with terrible dice by the British, was pretty successful and picked the Brits apart again. I wonder (in retrospect) if both sides should use their commanders a bit differently and if that would help the British be more competitive? Again, 7-3 Americans. I look forward to trying a more complex scenario.

Chen and Taylor played two games of Dragon Rampant. About the only thing I recall was Chen rolling an astounding nine 1's with 12 dice! Yikes!

We had room for more games even though there were lots of other guys there. Thanks again to Red Claw for hosting our group.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Election 2016

Bruce dropped by last week and brought with him a favourite game (1960: The Making of a President) with a new skin allowing us to refight the 2016 US election. Sadly, this meant one of had to play President Marmalade and I lost the flip. The game is one of area control with card-driven play. The only real changes to the base game were (1) a redistribution of the Electoral College votes, (2) easier travel between regions of the country, and (3) new text on the cards (card effects remained the same)
I think this was close to the opening set-up with the Donald in red and Hillary in blue. There are four or five rounds of campaigning, then a debate, then a few more rounds before election day. Bruce had played more recently and Hillary had a much better strategy (staying ahead on the issues, getting media endorsements, and prepping for the debate). Donald concentrated on the ground game and locking up the south and the fly-over states.

The redistribution of electoral votes made for an interesting change from the base game. We both fought for California, Texas and Florida. Hillary did a good job in the end of getting all of these states as well as the northeast.

I managed to win the debate but Hillary really impeded my campaigning towards the end.

Election day was a total crap shoot, with a few unexpected block draws giving Donald key rustbelt states and, in the end, denying Hillary enough seats to win.

Overall, a fun re-skin of Election 1960 that I would totally play again.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tricorne and 54mm AWI figures

So, after more than a year of waiting, my copy of Commands and Colors Tricorne arrived last week! Great service by The Sentry Box. The box is pretty thick (maybe the thickest of the CCA boxes) and I was excited to open it.

Inside you find the usual stuff. Bags of blocks. Red British, blue continentals, and dark blue Hessians. Stickering the blocks took about two hours.

There are also two types of cards: a shared command deck and separate battle cards. I think this mechanic is from the WW1 variant and adds some chrome to combat.

Combat is pretty straight forward but the new mechanics are rally rules. Basically, if you get pushed back, your unit must dice to avoid a rout. So avoiding flags through linear tactics seems important. Generals also appear to play a more important role in combat.

The rest of the components are nice. Good dice (no stickers!) are included. The may itself is 13x11 hexes (versus the usual 13x9). I will need to see what my hex mats look like downstairs to find one to work with the 54mm guys I have been painting.

Speaking of figures, I finished off 12 54mm plastic troops that have been sitting on the paint table for months.

They are a bit same-same n their colour schemes but, when mixed in with other groups I have painted with different palettes, we should get a more "rabble" look overall. Only regret is the electric blue jacket below right.

I have more (sigh) of the rabble to paint. We'll see what I have to do to fill out some of the scenarios.

Bruce is coming over tonight to get in a game of Election 1960 but with a Trump-Clinton skin. I am looking forward to see what he has. I'd also like to get in a game of CCAWI in the next few days so I know what I'm doing at the club next time.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Pulp Alley at Club Night

We had our first club night at our new venue (Red Claw Gaming) on Tuesday. There were nine guys from our club out with three games running. There were also maybe 12 other guys with four other games running. By the time I left, it was really hopping, which was nice to see.

Bruce playtested a Pulp Alley darkest Africa game he will be running at Fallcon for Terry, Jonathan and me. Four factions, each seeking a legendary bird. Minor lot points had to be dispensed with first, though.

These included meeting Tarzan (which Jonathan did).

Bruce and Terry contested to capture some cattle. Terry employed his baggage handlers as meat shields and managed to drive Bruce off. The use of gangs was an interesting mechanic that I had not seen before.

Terry's English explorers included a fellow armed with a butterfly net.

As the game heated up, we saw the more powerful characters come into play, including Jonathan's tribal leader.

In the end, Terry won, making a run on the final objective just ahead of when I was going to do so. Bruce and Jonathan were also about to win so it was a very close game.

Chen and Scott played some Dropfleet Commander while Dave P ran a game of Tanks!

Up next: I have some 54mm AWI troops that I just need to finish the base on. I also have a bunch of old Star Wars figures I need to finish basing. And then maybe onto some Star Trek ships. I'm also looking forward to the arrival of Tricorne and Vikings.